Incorporation Transparency

Counterfeit Companies: How Anonymous Companies Facilitate Illicit Trade

By Julia Keem

In 2017, a Colorado court convicted four individuals, including a former police officer, of racketeering, money laundering, and conspiracy for illegally selling counterfeit Denver Broncos merchandise as well as additional sports products from other professional and college teams around the country. A key element of the international counterfeiting scheme was the use of more than 20 anonymous companies.

This is just one of a number of schemes that were highlighted in a FACT Coalition report, titled “Anonymous Companies Help Finance Illicit Commerce and Harm American Businesses and Citizens,” which was published earlier this year. Authored by David M. Luna, a former U.S. national security official and current chair of the Anti-Illicit Trade Committee of the United States Council for International Business, the report reveals the harms imposed upon legitimate businesses, unwitting consumers, and even the United States military by anonymous companies engaging in the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. Currently, these criminal entities operate with impunity in the United States and are able to circumvent the law with little risk of accountability. The report concludes that enacting legislation requiring the disclosure of beneficial ownership information is an essential measure to combat the increasingly prolific abuses perpetrated by these shadowy networks.

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How North Korea Abuses Anonymous Companies to Illicitly Procure Mercedes — and Weapons

By Tyler Morrow

The images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un waving from atop a Mercedes Benz limo have made the rounds on the internet over the past few days in the wake of a new study published by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) and covered by the New York Times and CNN, among others. C4ADS research details how North Korea has evaded sanctions to secure luxury goods — and other more nefarious items — through its illicit finance operations.

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill as Leak of Odebrecht’s “Bribery Division” Underscores Need to End Anonymous Companies

Wyden, Rubio, and Whitehouse’s “Corporate Transparency Act” — Companion to Maloney and King’s H.R.2513 — Would End Incorporation of Anonymous Companies in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bipartisan momentum to end the incorporation of anonymous companies in the United States escalated on Wednesday following the publication of an international exposé on the scandal-plagued Odebrecht’s “Bribery Division,” as Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation that would require companies to disclose their true owner(s) when they incorporate and keep their ownership information up to-do-date.

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Testimony to Senate Banking Committee on Beneficial Ownership Information

Gary Kalman, the executive director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at a hearing regarding nongovernmental perspectives on the impact of collecting beneficial ownership information as part of legislation designed to protect the U.S. financial system.

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